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10 College Readiness Tips

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10 College Readiness Tips

It’s time to get your college readiness plan in high gear for your high school seniors. It is never too early to start planning ahead!

Here are 10 tips to get you through the beginning of the year:

  1. Push tough senior year schedules. Make sure your child’s schedule is rigorous and does not have more than one core subject missing from last year. Make sure core passions continue through school programs. It’s not too late to make course shifts.
  2. Arrange campus tours. All colleges host open houses and special events this fall. Visit a campus with your child. Or send them to visit some campuses on their own. They can visit classes, spend nights in the dorms, interview, meet professors, and more. Visit college websites for details. The Claremont-McKenna colleges, for example, have wonderful overnight programs.
  3. Visit colleges at hotels, college fairs, and at your high school. Many colleges have reps visiting your area this fall. Go to a college’s website and search for “On the Road.” Look at your student’s Naviance/Family Connection page for upcoming school visits. If the school offers interviews in town, sign your child up. But make sure your child does the individual email communication with a college.
  4. Sign up for fall tests. Seniors should take fall tests at least twice this fall. Their scores peak senior year. Remember, fee waivers works twice for each test. Very few schools now require SAT Subject Tests so check. And many schools are now allowing January testing, including many public universities. Your child now needs to upload a picture and there are no more walk-ins.
  5. Have seniors complete detailed brag sheets. Your senior will have to write a brag sheet for his or her counselors and teachers. Make sure your child is very specific in the examples of favorite assignments, papers, projects, and class moments. Have your child attach copies of best papers and projects. Make sure weaknesses are actually strengths. If you have to write one, vary the stories and qualities you emphasize.
  6. Start working on college application essays. Get your senior going with writing the essays required for college applications. College application essay apps can help, including this one. It provides all essays students must write along with deadlines and application requirements.
  7. Set up a filing system. Help organize your child’s application process. Make a bulletin board with all colleges, deadlines, types of applications, and essay requirements. Prioritize by deadline and by preference. Make sure to you keep track of all user name and passwords for each college!!!
  8. Make an appointment with your counselor and finalize your college list. Make sure you meet with your counselor as soon as you can to finalize your child’s college list. If the counselor suggests some colleges you don’t like, throw them a bone and include a couple.
  9. Use Naviance (Family Connection) to its fullest. Naviance has some great resources including scattergrams and a resume maker. It has links to the Fisk Guide and provides all deadlines. Visit it at least once a week.
  10. Build in breaks for you and your child. As the year begins, the stress gets going pretty quickly. So make sure to build in some breaks as your child needs to excel in all he or she does. After tests, treat them to something nice. Encourage them to do at least one major social thing per week.
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